Book Review: May It Be So by Justin McRoberts and Scott Erickson

When this book arrived for me to review, I flipped through the pages and saw it’s simplicity. I admittedly thought, “this is it?”

However, after experiencing the book, I would change that thought to, “this is it!” This is what I needed and I didn’t even know it.

In a world that’s all about more, most, busy, complicated, and chaos, this simple (yet profound and moving) book is needed. Our hearts crave simplicity, quiet, and meaningful connection with our Lord. This book helps make that happen in a creative way.

The authors guide the readers through forty days of meditation based on the Lord’s Prayer. As I pondered each day’s prayer, I found myself praying it over and over so easily – because I could actually remember it.

While going through this experience I looked forward to each day of quiet time, and I can honestly say that doesn’t always happen. It was so hard to not read ahead, but it was worth the journey. And I can’t wait to go through it again.

I received an ARC from the publisher and this is my honest review.

Book Review: Something Needs to Change by David Platt

91XundaLFLLIt’s rare for me to be torn between savoring a book or reading it all at once, but this book made me feel that tension the entire time.

Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need by David Platt is truly a MUST read for anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus. The author’s vulnerability and honest questions are so refreshing and compelling in our current culture, even in the church, of leaders needing to be “perfect.”

David Platt tells of his trek through the Himalayas and the people/situations he experienced along the way. He talks about the poverty, the darkness, the challenges these precious people face each day. He also shares about how the church operates there and how they are truly changing the world, one life at a time, even in the face of severe persecution and other challenges. He shares such wisdom throughout the book and I have been truly challenged by his words. I don’t say that lightly. 

As I read, I was reminded of my time in North Africa fourteen years ago. I was part of an “undercover mission team” and we observed the persecution of the church there. As we heard the stories from the believers we met, we were humbled and challenged because we have it so easy in the U.S. as Christians. Reading this book made me realize how complacent I have become, and how I need to be constantly sharing the love of Jesus with others in tangible ways and with my words.

I realize that God is calling me to new heights of love for him and others. To a kind of love that goes beyond all my religious learning or sense of religious responsibility. To a kind of love only God can create. A kind of love that causes you to change the plans you might have had for your life or your family or your future. A kind of costly, uncomfortable love that’s neither complacent or content to protect yourself from the needs of those around you. – David Platt

The life Jesus called us to is not one of comfort and complacency. He called us to CHANGE THE WORLD. Are you doing that? Am I doing that? What do you want the Church to look like?

…I long to be part of a church…that is simply committed to the most important things: caring for the hurting with compassion and spreading God’s love to the hopeless with courage. I want to be part of a people who are fearlessly holding on to God’s Word while selflessly sacrificing to share and show God’s love amid urgent needs in our world. I want to be part of the church like God has designed it to be. The kind of church that can change the world. – David Platt

Please read this book. Allow God to speak to you through it. And then make changes. I know I will be reading and rereading this, and I’m already praying about what I can be doing differently because something needs to change.

I received an ARC from the publisher and this is my honest review. 

Book Review: The Complicated Heart

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The Complicated Heart: Loving When It Hurts by Sarah Mae is a powerful retelling of a complicated mother-daughter relationship and a story of unforeseen redemption that only God could accomplish.

Sarah masterfully and vulnerably weaves together a picture of her childhood struggles with her alcoholic mother while also showing how God was working the entire time and how He healed her soul, and ultimately their relationship.

More than that, she offers such wisdom about how to set yourself free from toxic relationships and how to love those who have hurt you.  Sarah gives a refreshing take on grief and how sometimes you have to grieve your unmet expectations of relationships with living people in order to heal.

“Pain is not shameful, and neither is the vulnerability that comes with it.” – Sarah Mae

There are two sides to every story, and Sarah Mae does a beautiful job of incorporating the words of her mother, words she didn’t discover until her mother had passed away. It was incredible to see her mother’s thoughts and feelings about the same situations Sarah addressed.

Though I do not have a complicated relationship with my own mother, I have had difficult relationship issues in my life (even recently with a friend), and this book spoke to me in many ways. I highlighted many quotes and will continue to ponder them.

It’s okay that we will always have a little bit of sadness in our life regarding loss. The goal isn’t to never be sad, it’s about getting to the point where the pain no longer consumes us or controls our perceptions of ourselves, others, God, and the world.”

Check out The Complicated Heart – it just may be what your soul needs.

 

Book Review: Dear Grandchild, This Is Me

On my mom’s side of the family we’ve been so blessed by what we know as “Grandparent Books” – labors of love created about my great-grandparents, grandparents, great-aunts and uncles, telling their stories. These binders are filled with photos, stories (from interviews if possible), copies of awards and achievements, etc. They are amazing and true keepsakes.

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However, not every family has someone willing to go to all that “trouble.” Maybe that describes your family. If that’s the case, Dear Grandchild, This Is Me may be the PERFECT solution. This compact book is FILLED with prompts, questions, places for photos, a family tree, and SO much more that I honestly wouldn’t have thought to ask my parents. And, it will be in the grandparent’s handwriting!

Every page is colorful, thoughtfully laid out, and filled with great content. It’s so much easier to start with a prompt than with a blank page, and they have great questions to answer!

Family history is SO important to document, especially the personal side of it. Stories and wisdom need to be shared from generation to generation, and Dear Grandchild, This Is Me is truly a perfect way to do it. Our children’s grandparents just may be receiving a copy of this in the near future 😉 And, honestly, I want to start filling mine out for my future grandchildren (even though that’s at least 18-20 years from now).

You can buy a copy at most online retailers – here’s the Amazon link.

I took pictures of a few of my favorite pages so you can get a glimpse.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

 

Book Review: The Jesus Who Surprises by Dee Brestin

img_8482The Jesus Who Surprises: Opening Our Eyes to His Presence in All of Life and Scripture is an excellent study – one I enjoyed from beginning to end.

The author looks at the entire Bible to show us glimpses of Jesus where we may not expect to see Him. She masterfully shows that the Bible is indeed one connected story, one of hope, redemption, and love. She also approaches important topics like suffering, and she shows how those things produce a joy like none other (something I know from experience). I thoroughly enjoyed this study and repeatedly found myself excited and encouraged by her words. That isn’t something I can often say.

Here is one of my favorite quotes:

When we realize that the Lord is in control, a peace comes to us, despite the suffering. We realize that this shaking is temporary and that we have an inheritance that can never be taken from us. (Page 123)

I especially loved – and learned from – the third part, looking at Isaiah and what is in store for us. She summed up the whole study so well in the last sentence:

My hope is that seeing this same story from Genesis to Revelation will give you great confidence in the reliability of the Scriptures and the truths they hold. For the Jesus that surprised the two on the road to Emmaus, and surprises us in our everyday lives, is not at all finished surprising us.”

Dee also challenges the reader to see Jesus at work every day – something I’ve practiced for years thanks to missional training I received. He is always at work, you just have to see it. This practice alone can significantly change one’s perspective.

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This beautiful study can be done individually or as a group. Dee provides thoughtful questions to encourage a deeper study of Scripture at the end of each chapter.

I highly recommend this book and I look forward to reading more of her studies.

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I was given a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: “Blessed Are The Misfits” by Brant Hansen

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Have you ever felt like you were alone, like you didn’t fit in? Have you ever wondered why so many people seem to have a different experience in church than you do?

You are not alone.

Brant Hansen, the radio personality and author of Unoffendable (another amazing book), has done it again. He has put into words what so many of us have felt but couldn’t express.

For years I felt like I was failing because I didn’t love evangelism. The thought of talking to strangers about Jesus felt like torture. I wondered if my faith was authentic. It wasn’t until a few years ago, when I discovered that I’m actually an introvert, that I realized it wasn’t that I didn’t want to talk to strangers about Jesus – I didn’t want to talk to strangers at ALL. 

And there is NOTHING wrong with that. Chapter Seven told me so (and the Bible, but still 😉 ).

Brant discusses many aspects of life in which people feel like misfits – things that no one has ever really discussed before. And I think you need to read it. You can order it here!

If you don’t feel like a misfit, maybe you know someone who does…so buy a copy or two to give as gifts. Someone you know needs to read this book, and I bet it’s you.

Book Review: You Carried Me

book cover for You Carried MeWhen I was given the opportunity to review this book, I jumped at the chance, and I’m so glad that I did.

You Carried Me by Melissa Ohden is the incredible story of an abortion survivor and her quest to find answers. She learned about her almost-tragic beginning from her adoptive family and she writes openly and honestly about how she processed this information and how she has used it to encourage other women along the way.

You can see an interview with her here.

I read the entire book in one sitting because I was so drawn in and touched by her life. I highly encourage you to pick up a copy and read it – AND, share it with someone who might need the encouragement that this book provides.

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher; all opinions are my own.